Afghanistan: Taliban militants gun down Indian author Sushmita Banerjee
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Afghanistan: Taliban militants gun down Indian author Sushmita Banerjee

Kabul : Afghanistan | Sep 05, 2013 at 8:47 AM PDT
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Terrorists gun down Indian author Sushmita Banerjee

A well-known Indian author was shot dead outside her residence in Paktika province in Afghanistan by suspected Taliban militants, said the local police.

Sushmita Banerjee, 49 was the author of the popular book “A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife,” a memoir which recounts her dramatic escape from the clutches of Taliban in Afghanistan.

Banerjee had famously said a decade ago "The way I fought against Taliban, every girl, every woman should fight too."

In the book, she wrote about the tribulations she faced in Afghanistan under the then deadly Taliban regime. She was forced to close down her dispensary from where she distributed medicine.

Banerjee then boldly took on the challenge and tried to fight back, but eventually was forced to flee the country in 1994.

Describing the incident, she wrote: "One night I made a tunnel through the mud walls of the house and fled. Close to Kabul I was arrested.”

According to the author around 15 Taliban members interrogated her. Many of them said that since she had run away from her husband's house, she should be executed.

However, she was able to convince them that since she was an Indian, she had every right to go back to her country, she wrote.

"The interrogation continued through the night. The next morning I was taken to the Indian embassy from where I was given a safe passage,” she said in her book.

Her book went on to become a best-seller in India and was even made into a film entitled “Escape from Taliban,” featuring a "story of a woman who dares [the] Taliban".

Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala was cast in the lead role in the movie which was released in 2003. Banerjee also recounted her story in an article she wrote for Outlook magazine in 1998.

After her escape from Taliban militants in 1995, Banerjee had recently returned back to Afghanistan to live with her husband, who is an Afghan businessman Jaanbaz Khan.

A senior police officer told BBC’s Jafar Haand that Banerjee had been filming the lives of local women as part of her work as a social worker. She was also known as Sayed Kamala and working as a health worker in the province.

According to reports, Taliban militants barged into her home in the provincial capital, Kharana, tied up her husband and other members of the family. They then took Banerjee outside and shot her dead, after which they dumped her body near a school.

However, Afghan provincial police chief Dawlat Khan Zadran told AFP: "We found her bullet riddled body near Madrassa on the outskirts of Sharan city (the provincial capital) this morning."

"Our investigation ... indicates that the militants had grievances against her for something she had written or told in the past, which was then turned into a film," said the police chief. According to Zadran, Banerjee had been shot 20 times and some of her hair had been ripped off her head.

No group has so far come forward to claim responsibility for carrying out the dastardly attack on the woman. Sushmita's brother-in-law was also murdered few years back in Kolkata, reports CNN-IBN.

Sources:

BBC: Indian diarist Sushmita Banerjee shot dead in Afghanistan

One India News: Indian author Sushmita Banerjee shot dead in Afghanistan

* Other links embedded in the report

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Taliban militants gun down Indian author Sushmita Banerjee outside her house in Afghanistan.
Nina Rai is based in Mangaluru, Karnataka, India, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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